Bulldogs roll through district tournament

By John L. Braese

The Enterprise

NYSSA – Nyssa High School will need to take a large bus when it heads to the 3A state wrestling tournament in Portland on Thursday. After the 3A Special District 3 tournament wrapped up action on Saturday, 20 Bulldogs earned a seat on the bus in an attempt to win Nyssa a third straight state title.

The Dawgs ran away with the district team title Saturday after scoring 457.5 points. Riverside was a distant second with 202 points and Irrigon was third with 177. Vale placed fifth with 84 points and sends three wrestlers to Portland for the state tournament.

As is the case in numerous weight classes, two Bulldog wrestlers will represent Nyssa in the 106-pound division. After senior Micklo Luna defeated teammate Dominik Madrid, a junior, in the championship match, both will make the trip to Portland. Current statewide 3A rankings place Luna in the fourth while Madrid ranks eighth.

Two local wrestlers also will show up at 113 pounds. Leading the race will be a first-time competitor at the state finals. Nyssa freshman Raul Ruiz won the district title at that weight and is ranked sixth in the state. Joining him at 113 pounds will be Vale’s Alejandro Juarez-Gonzalez after a third-place showing in the district meet. Juarez-Gonzalez is ranked ninth among the state 3A competitors.

Two locals also show up in the 120-pound class. Nyssa senior Heath Hartley returns to the state championship searching for his fourth individual state title. Hartley, posting a 35-1 season record, is ranked first in the state after titles at the Calhoun Classic, Padilla Classic, RD Brown Invite and the prestigious Rollie Lane. Joining Hartley in Portland will be Vale junior Orlando Paz. Paz grabbed a third-place showing in the district meet and is currently ranked 11th in the statewide polls.

After a second-place finish at the district tournament, Bulldog senior Gavin Hartley makes his final trip to Portland in search of a state title. Hartley is currently ranked tenth.

Two Nyssa wrestlers will be on the mats in Portland at 138 pounds. Both senior Ryan Vineyard and junior Chris Acosta will make the trip after Vineyard took a 3-2 decision over Acosta in the finals of the district tournament. In state rankings, Vineyard is second while Acosta is third.

In the 145-pound division, freshman Elijah Cleaver pinned senior Nathan Dorathy to win the district title. Both will be on the bus to Portland with Cleaver ranked third in the state while Dorathy is fifth.

The doubling up of Bulldog wrestlers continues in the 152-pound division. After placing second in the district tournament, junior Jonathan Iniguez will be joined by sophomore Dearden Woodruff, who placed third. Iniguez makes the trip ranked fourth in the state while Woodruff is ranked seventh.

A first timer at the state meet will be Nyssa freshman Adam Simpson. Simpson took the district title at 160 pounds in overtime over teammate Adam Van Meter, a junior. Both will compete in Portland. Even with the victory, Simpson holds a sixth-place ranking while Van Meter is ranked fourth.

An additional district champion for the Bulldogs is senior Curtis Hollinger. In the district tournament, Hollinger managed a pin of Irrigon’s Brady Harrington at 1:48. Hollinger walks into Veterans Coliseum with a ninth-place ranking in the state polls.

Two Nyssa wrestlers and one Vale wrestler go to state in the 182-pound class — Bulldog seniors Jose Candelas and Nate Marquez and Vale junior Chikote Buckway. Candelas is the top-ranked wrestler in the state with Marquez ranked third and Buckway eighth.

At 195 pounds, Nyssa sophomore Jose Sanchez took the district title with a pin over Irrigon’s Tucker McAllister. Joining him at state will be Bulldog senior Grant Gzik after his third-place showing in the district meet. Sanchez is currently ranked first in the state 3A ranks with Gzik ranked 15th.

After placing second at the district tournament, Nyssa junior Edgar Rivera will join his teammates in Portland. Rivera, wrestling at 220 pounds, fell to Riverside’s Anthony Kernal in the final match. Rivera enters the state tournament with a sixth place state ranking.

Looking to repeat as an individual state champion, Bulldog senior Osiris Tapia again makes the trip to Portland as a district champ after taking a forfeit win over Riverside’s Ruben Villa in Saturday’s competition in the 285-pound division. After taking the state title last year, Tapia enters this year’s competition as the top ranked 3A wrestler in the division.

Looking at the team standings, the Bulldogs look towards Willamina as the team that could be in the way of Nyssa’s attempt at a third straight team title. Willamina sends 14 wrestlers to Portland this year.

Have a news tip? Email new@malheurenterprise or call John L. Braese at 541-473-3377.